There is created a Department of Transportation which shall be a decentralized agency.
(1)(a) The head of the Department of Transportation is the Secretary of Transportation. The secretary shall be appointed by the Governor from among three persons nominated by the Florida Transportation Commission and shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate. The secretary shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
(b) The secretary shall be a proven, effective administrator who by a combination of education and experience shall clearly possess a broad knowledge of the administrative, financial, and technical aspects of the development, operation, and regulation of transportation systems and facilities or comparable systems and facilities.
(c) The secretary shall provide to the Florida Transportation Commission or its staff, such assistance, information, and documents as are requested by the commission or its staff to enable the commission to fulfill its duties and responsibilities.
(d) The secretary may appoint up to three assistant secretaries who shall be directly responsible to the secretary and who shall perform such duties as are assigned by the secretary. The secretary shall designate to an assistant secretary the duties related to enhancing economic prosperity, including, but not limited to, the responsibility of liaison with the head of economic development in the Executive Office of the Governor. Such assistant secretary shall be directly responsible for providing the Executive Office of the Governor with investment opportunities and transportation projects that expand the state’s role as a global hub for trade and investment and enhance the supply chain system in the state to process, assemble, and ship goods to markets throughout the eastern United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and Latin America. The secretary may delegate to any assistant secretary the authority to act in the absence of the secretary.
(e) Any secretary appointed after July 5, 1989, and the assistant secretaries shall be exempt from the provisions of part III of chapter 110 and shall receive compensation commensurate with their qualifications and competitive with compensation for comparable responsibility in the private sector.
(2)(a)1. The Florida Transportation Commission is hereby created and shall consist of nine members appointed by the Governor subject to confirmation by the Senate. Members of the commission shall serve terms of 4 years each.
2. Members shall be appointed in such a manner as to equitably represent all geographic areas of the state. Each member must be a registered voter and a citizen of the state. Each member of the commission must also possess business managerial experience in the private sector.
3. A member of the commission shall represent the transportation needs of the state as a whole and may not subordinate the needs of the state to those of any particular area of the state.
4. The commission is assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Transportation for administrative and fiscal accountability purposes, but it shall otherwise function independently of the control and direction of the department.
(b) The commission shall:
1. Recommend major transportation policies for the Governor’s approval and assure that approved policies and any revisions are properly executed.
2. Periodically review the status of the state transportation system, including highway, transit, rail, seaport, intermodal development, and aviation components of the system, and recommend improvements to the Governor and the Legislature.
3. Perform an in-depth evaluation of the annual department budget request, the Florida Transportation Plan, and the tentative work program for compliance with all applicable laws and established departmental policies. Except as specifically provided in s. 339.135(4)(c)2., (d), and (f), the commission may not consider individual construction projects but shall consider methods of accomplishing the goals of the department in the most effective, efficient, and businesslike manner.
4. Monitor the financial status of the department on a regular basis to assure that the department is managing revenue and bond proceeds responsibly and in accordance with law and established policy.
5. Monitor on at least a quarterly basis the efficiency, productivity, and management of the department using performance and production standards developed by the commission pursuant to s. 334.045.
6. Perform an in-depth evaluation of the factors causing disruption of project schedules in the adopted work program and recommend to the Governor and the Legislature methods to eliminate or reduce the disruptive effects of these factors.
7. Recommend to the Governor and the Legislature improvements to the department’s organization in order to streamline and optimize the efficiency of the department. In reviewing the department’s organization, the commission shall determine if the current district organizational structure is responsive to this state’s changing economic and demographic development patterns. The report by the commission must be delivered to the Governor and the Legislature by December 15 each year, as appropriate. The commission may retain experts as necessary to carry out this subparagraph, and the department shall pay the expenses of the experts.
8. Monitor the efficiency, productivity, and management of the agencies and authorities created under chapters 348 and 349; the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority re-created pursuant to chapter 2000-411, Laws of Florida; and any authority formed under chapter 343. The commission shall also conduct periodic reviews of each agency’s and authority’s operations and budget, acquisition of property, management of revenue and bond proceeds, and compliance with applicable laws and generally accepted accounting principles.
(c) The commission or a member thereof may not enter into the day-to-day operation of the department or a monitored authority and is specifically prohibited from taking part in:
1. The awarding of contracts.
2. The selection of a consultant or contractor or the prequalification of any individual consultant or contractor. However, the commission may recommend to the secretary standards and policies governing the procedure for selection and prequalification of consultants and contractors.
3. The selection of a route for a specific project.
4. The specific location of a transportation facility.
5. The acquisition of rights-of-way.
6. The employment, promotion, demotion, suspension, transfer, or discharge of any department personnel.
7. The granting, denial, suspension, or revocation of any license or permit issued by the department.
(d)1. The chair of the commission shall be selected by the commission members and shall serve a 1-year term.
2. The commission shall hold a minimum of 4 regular meetings annually, and other meetings may be called by the chair upon giving at least 1 week’s notice to all members and the public pursuant to chapter 120. Other meetings may also be held upon the written request of at least four other members of the commission, with at least 1 week’s notice of such meeting being given to all members and the public by the chair pursuant to chapter 120. Emergency meetings may be held without notice upon the request of all members of the commission. At each meeting of the commission, the secretary or his or her designee shall submit a report of major actions taken by him or her as the official representative of the department.
3. A majority of the membership of the commission constitutes a quorum at any meeting of the commission. An action of the commission is not binding unless the action is taken pursuant to an affirmative vote of a majority of the members present, but not fewer than four members of the commission at a meeting held pursuant to subparagraph 2., and the vote is recorded in the minutes of that meeting.
4. The chair shall cause to be made a complete record of the proceedings of the commission, which record shall be open for public inspection.
(e) The meetings of the commission shall be held in the central office of the department in Tallahassee unless the chair determines that special circumstances warrant meeting at another location.
(f) Members of the commission are entitled to per diem and travel expenses pursuant to s. 112.061.
(g) A member of the commission may not have any interest, direct or indirect, in any contract, franchise, privilege, or other benefit granted or awarded by the department during the term of his or her appointment and for 2 years after the termination of such appointment.
(h) The commission shall appoint an executive director and assistant executive director, who shall serve under the direction, supervision, and control of the commission. The executive director, with the consent of the commission, shall employ such staff as are necessary to perform adequately the functions of the commission, within budgetary limitations. All employees of the commission are exempt from part II of chapter 110 and shall serve at the pleasure of the commission. The salaries and benefits of all employees of the commission shall be set in accordance with the Selected Exempt Service; provided, however, that the commission shall have complete authority for fixing the salary of the executive director and assistant executive director.
(i) The commission shall develop a budget pursuant to chapter 216. The budget is not subject to change by the department, but such budget shall be submitted to the Governor along with the budget of the department.
(3)(a) The central office shall establish departmental policies, rules, procedures, and standards and shall monitor the implementation of such policies, rules, procedures, and standards in order to ensure uniform compliance and quality performance by the districts and central office units that implement transportation programs. Major transportation policy initiatives or revisions shall be submitted to the commission for review.
(b) The secretary may appoint positions at the level of deputy assistant secretary or director which the secretary deems necessary to accomplish the mission and goals of the department, including, but not limited to, the areas of program responsibility provided in this paragraph, each of whom shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the secretary. The secretary may combine, separate, or delete offices as needed in consultation with the Executive Office of the Governor. The department’s areas of program responsibility include, but are not limited to:
3. Public transportation;
5. Highway operations;
7. Toll operations;
8. Information systems;
9. Motor carrier weight inspection;
10. Management and budget;
13. Maintenance; and
(c) Other offices may be established in accordance with s. 20.04(7). The heads of such offices are exempt from part II of chapter 110. (d) The secretary shall appoint an inspector general pursuant to s. 20.055 who shall be directly responsible to the secretary and shall serve at the pleasure of the secretary.
(e) The secretary shall appoint a general counsel who shall be directly responsible to the secretary. The general counsel is responsible for all legal matters of the department. The department may employ as many attorneys as it deems necessary to advise and represent the department in all transportation matters.
(4)(a) The operations of the department shall be organized into seven districts, each headed by a district secretary, and a turnpike enterprise and a rail enterprise, each enterprise headed by an executive director. The district secretaries and the executive directors shall be registered professional engineers in accordance with the provisions of chapter 471 or the laws of another state, or, in lieu of professional engineer registration, a district secretary or executive director may hold an advanced degree in an appropriate related discipline, such as a Master of Business Administration. The headquarters of the districts shall be located in Polk, Columbia, Washington, Broward, Volusia, Miami-Dade, and Hillsborough Counties. The headquarters of the turnpike enterprise shall be located in Orange County. The headquarters of the rail enterprise shall be located in Leon County. In order to provide for efficient operations and to expedite the decisionmaking process, the department shall provide for maximum decentralization to the districts.
(b) Each district secretary may appoint up to three district directors. These positions are exempt from part II of chapter 110.
(c) Within each district, offices shall be established for managing major functional responsibilities of the department. The heads of these offices shall be exempt from part II of chapter 110.
(d) The district director for the Fort Myers Urban Office of the Department of Transportation is responsible for developing the 5-year Transportation Plan for Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties. The Fort Myers Urban Office also is responsible for providing policy, direction, local government coordination, and planning for those counties.
(e)1. The responsibility for the turnpike system shall be delegated by the secretary to the executive director of the turnpike enterprise, who shall serve at the pleasure of the secretary. The executive director shall report directly to the secretary, and the turnpike enterprise shall operate pursuant to ss. 338.22-338.241. 2. To facilitate the most efficient and effective management of the turnpike enterprise, including the use of best business practices employed by the private sector, the turnpike enterprise, except as provided in s. 287.055, shall be exempt from departmental policies, procedures, and standards, subject to the secretary having the authority to apply any such policies, procedures, and standards to the turnpike enterprise from time to time as deemed appropriate. (f)1. The responsibility for developing and operating the high-speed and passenger rail systems established in chapter 341, directing funding for passenger rail systems under s. 341.303, and coordinating publicly funded passenger rail operations in the state, including freight rail interoperability issues, shall be delegated by the secretary to the executive director of the rail enterprise, who shall serve at the pleasure of the secretary. The executive director shall report directly to the secretary, and the rail enterprise shall operate pursuant to ss. 341.8201-341.842. 2. To facilitate the most efficient and effective management of the rail enterprise, including the use of best business practices employed by the private sector, the rail enterprise, except as provided in s. 287.055, shall be exempt from departmental policies, procedures, and standards, subject to the secretary having the authority to apply any such policies, procedures, and standards to the rail enterprise from time to time as deemed appropriate. (5) Notwithstanding the provisions of s. 110.205, the Department of Management Services is authorized to exempt positions within the Department of Transportation which are comparable to positions within the Senior Management Service pursuant to s. 110.205(2)(j) or positions which are comparable to positions in the Selected Exempt Service under s. 110.205(2)(m). (6) The department is authorized to contract with local governmental entities and with the private sector if the department first determines that:
(a) Consultants can do the work at less cost than state employees;
(b) State employees can do the work at less cost, but sufficient positions have not been approved by the Legislature as requested in the department’s most recent legislative budget request;
(c) The work requires specialized expertise, and it would not be economical for the state to acquire, and then maintain, the expertise after the work is done;
(d) The workload is at a peak level, and it would not be economical to acquire, and then keep, extra personnel after the workload decreases; or
(e) The use of such entities is clearly in the public’s best interest.
Such contracts shall require compliance with applicable federal and state laws, and clearly specify the product or service to be provided.